Global ARCH / Member Spotlight  / BLH Zimbabwe: Patience and perseverance are the keys to success, despite the hardships

BLH Zimbabwe: Patience and perseverance are the keys to success, despite the hardships

In early June Brave Little Hearts Zimbabwe participated in our National Youth Business Expo, as we are looking at establishing sustainable projects to help empower our communities to attain financial freedom. This is so important because donors are hard to come by, and the financial burden of heart communities is so huge. Our target is to be self-sufficient by 2023 so we can meet every financial need, including surgeries, fees, medications, and hopefully, a community-owned heart centre.

As much as we are awaiting government intervention, we feel we must rise up to be the change we want to see as our needs are urgent and we cannot afford to sit and wait.

Building partnerships

Some of the partners we spoke to at the National Youth Business Expo included those involved in farming, food processing, and art work, including beadwork bags and leather tanning. We are thrilled to know that they are willing to teach our communities so that we can possibly be involved in the export of some of the products.

Fundraising for an epic journey

This week has also been exciting as all roads lead to Mutoko Mission Hospital. This is where a team of Italian doctors have been running a cardiac clinic camp. So we will be braving the cold weather and our pot-holed roads to travel by bus 491km for our babies to be screened and hopefully sponsored for free surgery in Italy.

The challenge is that the journey is very expensive – approximately $100 USD per person, and some of our parents cannot afford it. So we will be doing a car wash to raise funds for the journey, and also to cover the expenses of one of our babies who was sponsored by PSMAS for surgery in India, but unfortunately does not have the funds for air fares and accommodation.

Ongoing sponsorship applications

We have applied for a national symposium dialogue with all stakeholders regarding cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases. We have also approached WHO, UNICEF, and our Ministry of Health, including experts and other advocates. We’re hoping that sponsorship approvals come soon.

A lot of celebrations!

We were a little late in celebrating February International Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Month, due to waiting for formal approvals, but we’re happy to report that the Ministry of Health did approve it and we held it in April instead – better late than never! We also managed to run our Africa Day Awareness celebration, with pottery, art, and dance for kids. Now we gear up to try to get recognition for World Heart Day in September!

We are hoping that patience is the key to success

Lastly, we have been waiting for 4 years to have our Memorandum of Understanding approved with our Ministry of Health, but we are very patient and persistent. We won’t give up.

May Mazvitaishe – 5 years old received heart surgery in India

Tendai Moyo

Nahimeh Jaffar 

Nahimeh Jaffar has worked as a certified Project Manager (PMP) in various fields, including Public Health, Biotech, and Pharmaceuticals, working within clinical settings such as hospitals and clinics. In addition, she worked with global communities in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, supporting various social impact projects. Ms. Jaffar has been involved in preventive health initiatives in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control (CDC, USA) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS, USA).


Ms. Jaffar holds an MBA in Business Development from the Swiss Institute of Higher Management, Vevey, Switzerland, and a bachelor’s degree in Consumer Affairs from California State University, Northridge, USA.

Amy Verstappen, President

Amy Verstappen has been a patient advocate and health educator since 1996, when her own challenges living with a complex heart defect led her to the Adult Congenital Heart Association, where she served as president from 2001 to 2013. She has served as an advisor to the Centers for Disease Control the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and the International Society for Adult Congenital Cardiac Disease, and worked with congenital heart patient and professional groups throughout the USA and the world.  Ms. Verstappen received a Masters in Education in 1990 and a Masters in Global Health in 2019.